For the better part of the day, an ABBA song has been stuck in my head.
Earlier this evening while I was hoofing it around the streets of Anaheim, I realized how fitting the song was for this fine election day.
“The Winner Takes It All” is the tune that I’ve not been able to shake for hours on end. When I was at first absent-mindedly singing the lyrics — then thinking about them a bit more — they resonated.
“The winner takes it all; the loser has to fall. It’s simple and it’s plain; why should I complain?”
We had a winner and a loser tonight. No matter what side you took, yes, the winner gets it all: the victory, yes. But aside from the good, he also gets the bad and the ugly. The difficult and the challenging. The heart-wrenching and the dividing.
Electoral College aside, popular vote aside, there’s still room for not one but many voices to be heard if you’ve got something on your heart. That’s part of what makes America fantastic. We can speak our mind the way many other countries can’t. If we don’t like something, we can let our leaders know. If we have ideas about how things could be better managed — even an entire country — then we can raise our hand. We can write letters. If we want to start a grassroots movement, we’re allowed to.
So the song, it turns out, is wrong. Whether it’s about politics or anything else, the reason we should complain is because we’ve been given a voice to do so. Don’t use it, and there stands to be little chance at getting what you want. Use it, and you’ve got a shot. The mere fact that we have a right to freedom of speech is something we often take for granted. But if the outcome of tonight’s election isn’t what you’d hoped, how do you plan to make the next four years something better than where you think they might be headed?
Tonight I am thankful for this country, for the voice we’ve all been given and for the passion that we’ve all expressed — regardless of our party affiliation. Passion implies a heartbeat, and a heartbeat implies that we all still have a voice — to express support, or request change.